National parks in Democratic Republic of Congo.
Congo is located in central Africa, it is the largest country in the sub-Saharan region, and the second largest on the continent. It is known for its diverse geography, including rain forests, grasslands, savannah and the Congo river one of which is the longest in the world, various national parks and wildlife reserves, and volcanic mountains like Mount Nyiragongo.
The country is home to Virunga and Kahuzi Beiga national parks, home to endangered mountain gorillas and eastern lowland gorillas, respectively. You can also engage in other thrilling activities like hiking, mountaineering, and bird watching.
In this article, we are going to discuss about the two main national parks in Congo, namely,
- Virunga National Park.
Virunga National Park is located in Democratic Republic of Congo in the northeastern part near the borders of Rwanda and Uganda, and occupies an area of about 7800 square kilometers. This is one of the oldest national parks, which was established in the year 1925.
It is home to various wildlife species, one of which is the endangered mountain gorillas among others like chimpanzees, hippos, elephants and a good number of bird species.
It is also known for offering mesmerizing experiences of the famous Nyirangongo’s lava lake which is a popular attraction for trekkers. Gorilla trekking is the main activity done in Virunga National Park, giving tourists a chance to see these magnificent primates in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking in Virunga National Park.
Gorilla trekking is the act of hiking through the jungle in search of gorillas. Virunga national park offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience enabling you have a close and personal encounter with the gorillas.
First and foremost, in order to carry out gorilla trekking, you need to have obtained a gorilla permit issued by the park authorities. The activity needs fitness and flexibility but is fun since its it’s a group activity, you are always led by and experienced guide who takes you through the trails of the park until you get to see the gorillas.
Trekking gorillas can take hours depending on where they will be found at a particular day and time, once you get to locate them, you will be given one hour to spend with them as you learn about their different behaviors within the wild. You can take a few snaps to keep for good memories.
You should note that gorilla trekking is a little bit challenging but the rewards are worth it.
- Kahuzi-Beiga national park.
Kahuzi Beiga national park is found in the eastern part of Congo covering an area of about 6000 square kilometers established in the year 1970. The park was established mainly to protect eastern lowland gorillas also known as the Grauer’s gorillas.
The park is filled with magnificent flora and fauna which is a home to other various wildlife species like birds, forest elephants, and primates like chimpanzees. Kahuzi-Beiga national park is known for hosting the eastern lowland gorillas and offering awesome and adventurous gorilla trekking experiences which enables tourists to encounter with these primates in their natural habitat.
Gorilla trekking in Kahuzi-Beiga starts in the morning led by an experienced guide who leads you through the forest trails in search of these primates. You should know that eastern lowland gorillas are different from mountain gorillas hence you get to experience different encounters.
Trekking hours depends on where the gorillas will be found and once you get to encounter, you are given one hour in their presence as you learn about how they feed, hunt and take care of their young ones.
Other Destinations to visit In Democratic Republic Of Congo.
- Lake Kivu.
Lake Kivu is known to be the smallest water body among the African great lakes and the third deepest located at a high altitude. This is a meromictic lake whose deep waters don’t mix with each other located between Congo and Rwanda.
The water body is well known for its awesome and stunning beauty surrounded by green lush hills making it a picturesque destination filled with blue waters and a backdrop of rolling hills giving you a serene landscape.
You can as well enjoy boat rides, kayaking, lakeside relaxation and fishing while at lake Kivu.
Also known as mount Nyamulagira is one of Africa’s active volcanoes found in the eastern part of Congo within Virunga national park. The mountain is known for its frequent eruptions which result into the release of lava flows and ash clouds.
The mountain is known for conservation of wildlife since it is located within the Virunga conservation area.
- Mount Mikeno.
This is one of the prominent volcanoes part of the Virunga mountain ranges within the Virunga national park. Mount Mikeno is the second highest peak in the Virunga national park having an elevation of about 4,437 meters.
It is a dormant volcano because its volcanic cone was formed as a result of volcanic activity. It is known for harboring a good number of wildlife including the endangered mountain gorillas. The gorillas that harbor here are known as the eastern lowland gorillas giving opportunities like gorilla trekking.
- Tchegera island.
Tchegera is a small island located on lake Kivu between Rwanda and Congo but closer to Rwanda. This island covers an area of approximately 3.4 square kilometers which makes it compact but a serene destination to visit.
The island is filled with natural beauty boasting lush vegetation, intriguing volcanic rock formations and sandy beaches where you get to enjoy activities like bird watching, hiking, sun bathing, swimming, boating and water sports activities like kayaking, boat excursions and paddle boating.
A trip to Tchegera island on Lake Kivu is so much rewarding with captivating vistas of the lake and nearby volcanoes.